Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin

Started by Medeek, March 04, 2017, 08:59:31 PM

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The three new header types being added are:

LVL, PSL and Timber

The thing I really like about having the Custom Library is that I no longer have to worry about trying to figure out what header sizes and combinations everyone wants.  Now you can create your own sizes with a choice of 1 thru 3 plies and five different materials to choose from.  The possibilities are limitless.

I had a pretty good handle on standard imperial sizes but the metric world was well beyond the scope of my limited knowledge of other countries building practices and standards.

The other upside is that you can narrow down the library to specific sizes you actually use so your drop downs are no longer cluttered with sizes that mean nothing to you.

Glulam headers are not handled by the custom library and remain a separate module but the offering there is vast so I do not think users will find it limiting in any way.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.


Version 1.0.5 - 03.05.2019
- Added toolbar icons for "Documents" module.
- Added a Custom Header Library/Manager in the Headers tab of the Global Settings.
- Enabled custom headers for doors, windows and garage doors.
- Enabled three new header materials: LVL, PSL, and Timber.

Just a word of warning for those users on MacOS.  The headers tab of the global settings (Page 2) will probably exhibit the same issue with the HTML menus as the Material Library.  I am still trying to come up with a proper work around in the code that fixes the modal behavior on MacOS and so far it has confounded my best efforts.

What this means is that you will probably not be able to add or edit headers in the library currently if you are a Mac user.  I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and I am just as frustrated with this issue as you are right now.

In the meantime if you need to (manually) edit the header libraries they are stored in the "library_headers" sub-folder of the plugin.  There are two files, one is for imperial headers and one is for metric headers.  Either file is a simple text filed deliminated by vertical bars. 

The text files can be edited in any text editor (eg. notepad, wordpad, TextEdit etc...)

Each row or line of the library file contains seven columns or entries. 

The first the row is the header name with "mdkheader_" prefix attached.

The second row is the header name.

The third row is the header depth (in./mm)

The fourth row is the header thickness (in./mm)

The fifth row is the header ply (1,2 or 3)

The sixth row is the header material (LUMBER, TIMBER, LSL, PSL, or LVL)

The seventh row is the header status (ACTIVE or INACTIVE)

Note that the material library can also be modified manually however if textures are involved it becomes slightly more complicated as you would also need to place a copy of the image file in the "library_mats" sub-folder along with editing the MATERIAL_LIBRARY.txt file.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.


Within the "Draw Rectangular Wall Assembly" dialog (for that matter any dialog with an "Update" button), consider changing text to a red color when a parameter has been changed but before the "Update" button has been pressed. In this way you can see all the changes you have made before hitting "Update". Red text also indicates that if you start to draw a wall, then you are not using the "red" updated parameter. Hopefully this is the right place to recommend enhancements?


Quote from: airy on March 05, 2019, 06:54:09 PM
Within the "Draw Rectangular Wall Assembly" dialog (for that matter any dialog with an "Update" button), consider changing text to a red color when a parameter has been changed but before the "Update" button has been pressed. In this way you can see all the changes you have made before hitting "Update". Red text also indicates that if you start to draw a wall, then you are not using the "red" updated parameter. Hopefully this is the right place to recommend enhancements?

I really like this idea, I'm not sure on how to implement it yet but it is probably just some javascript using an "onchange" function.  Let me see what I can come up with.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.


I'm testing out the concept in one of the electrical plugin menus since there is considerably less parameters and much faster to set it up so I can prototype the concept:

It's actually really easy to implement with two very small javascript functions.

I think a slightly different shade of red though, its a bit red for me, thoughts?

When you change any of the parameters it toggles the input to red.  When you click the Update button they all become white again.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.


Looks great, bright red is good for me as I want it to stand out and get my attention. I think this would work equally as well on the global settings popup windows, basically anywhere that a change has been made but not yet saved. 


Can't seem to get the pressure treated plate to show up dark green. I changed it within global settings as shown and a selected yes for PT Bottom plate within the Draw Rectangular Wall Assembly dialog. No big deal but wanted to get it reported if it is indeed broken.


This is one of the finer points of the plugin that I should discuss regarding materials:

Without looking at your materials pane (tray) in SU I can probably guess that the plugin has already created a material called medeek_lumberpt and it is the default pressure treated color.  The plugin will create the lumber and pressure treated lumber materials the first time you create a wall.  Once the plugin creates a material it does not try to overwrite that material if it exists.  The upside to this is that if you as the user decide to manually customize one of the materials after the fact the plugin will not blow away your changes.

The downside is that if you change any of the default colors they will not take affect unless you trigger the plugin to do so by removing or renaming the existing material.  Remember the plugin will check for the existence of the material and if found it will not try to create it or recreate it.  In order to have the plugin overwrite the medeek_lumberpt material the easiest thing to do would be to delete it or rename it in the SketchUp tray and then regen your walls.

Let me know what you get.

P.S.  You can set the default color in the global settings and it will take affect with your next model.  Alternatively you can also just manually edit your materials in the model within the SU tray.  Again, once a material has been created by the plugin it will not try to recreate it unless it can't find it.  Rather than having to regen all of your walls, just edit the medeek_lumberpt material and you are done.  If you need to go back later and change it up again, then yes, that is not a problem. 
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.


Thanks for the explanation, I deleted the existing medeek_lumberpt within the material tray and updated the walls and now have the new color.

Unfortunately, it appeared to me (and I am sure most users to come) that the material tab under global settings isn't working and you might have to explain why many times over. 

It almost seems as though the material tab under global settings needs to be disabled after the first wall is built, after all, once the first wall is built you can no longer edit colors since the old colors exist in the material tray.

I don't know if its even possible, but the optimum solution would be for the plugin to check and see if the material existed in the Sketchup material tray, and if it does, then prompt the user to say that this material already exist, do you want to delete the old color associated with the material and replace it with the new color? Yes or No

Since there is an easy work around, I am not sure this enhancement is worth it but if so, it would seem to be a low priority given all the other major features being rolled out.


Thank-you for thinking this through further.  I think you do bring up a good point with regards to how to deal with existing materials.  I will give this some more thought.

Even after your build your first wall or many walls technically the material library is still in the game so to speak.  If you choose a material for your sheathing or cladding that is from the library that has not already been defined in the SU material list for your model then the plugin will create this material based on the parameters from the material library.  It is only once the material is defined that the plugin then uses the currently defined material and does not attempt to create it new or update it.

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.


I've rolled out an update to the Electrical plugin (Version 0.9.5) with what I call parameter change highlighting.

If it is well received then I will make this same feature available with the draw menus of the wall plugin.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.


Version 1.0.6 - 03.06.2019
- Added the option for no trimmers for windows and doors (Advanced Framing).
- Fixed a bug with the HTML window edit menu.

You also have the option to turn on/off sill trimmers (shown as off in the image).  This should allow designers/framers more flexibility and better enable advanced framing or Value Engineering.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.


Version 1.0.6b - 03.07.2019
- Parameter change highlighting enabled for wall draw menu.
- Parameter hightlight (input) color added to General tab of global settings.

To disable this feature just set the input color to #ffffff (white).  This update is per user request.

This feature is still quite new and once I am satisfied with it and receive enough feedback I will roll the same behavior out to the other HTML menus within the plugin.  This is relevant to all HTML edit, draw and global settings menus.

Personally I like the light blue color (pre-selected color within the HTML color picker) but allowing this to be customized is the right thing to do.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.


Just had a nice chat with my Australian point of contact and covered some new items as well as existing ones.  Below is a summary of items that need further attention:

1.)  Customize the naming of groups within a wall.  Currently the names assigned to each group within a wall panel is hard coded into the plugin.  Naming of groups can be toggled on or off currently but one cannot customize the naming scheme.

2.)  The estimating module is a good start but we need totals not just per wall quantities.

3.)  When upgrading the plugin the user needs to retain wall presets, custom header library, custom material library.  I will probably need to move these sub-folders outside of the plugin folder so the information is not blown away when a user upgrades the plugin.

4.)  In Australia the top plates are not typically lapped as they are in the United States and Canada.  I will need to make an option to toggle this behavior on an off.

5.)  Ability to reset or change the wall and beam count/enumeration.

6.)  Ability to toggle the wall labels from on top of the wall to in front of the wall as well as customize the size of the text.

7.)  Toggle the number of studs, blocks etc...  this is related to item #1 above.

8.)  Tee intersection blocking.  There are many permutations but maybe we just start with one method and see how it goes.

9.)  Need to have the gable/rake and shed wall.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.


Version 1.0.7 - 03.09.2019
- Added the ability to generate wall (framing) elevations with the Create Scenes tool of the Medeek Documents module.

You can select the wall panels you want scenes for or click the "Select All" button to automatically grab all of the Medeek wall panels in the model.

This tool is quite basic at the moment but I've set it up so a myriad of options can be added as needed per customer request. 

Note that when you create the scenes you first want to toggle the appropriate layers first in your model (or Scene 1) then create the scenes.  I haven't added any specific logic in for making specific layers visible or invisible yet, but I probably will once I receive a bit more feedback on this feature.

The elevations are obviously shown in parallel projection with the view or "eye" always looking at the exterior side of the wall, so that the start of the wall is always on the left side.

Items for future work include but are not limited to:  floor plans, floor framing plans, roof framing plans, foundation plans, electrical plans etc...

Along with the framing elevations I have requests by a number of users to add in some form of auto-dimensioning of the wall panels.  I will give this further consideration.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.